So if you’re going to make money as an affiliate blogger, you’re going to have choose what products you promote very carefully. After all, blogging is about building trust and communities. If you betray that trust by showing your community of readers ads and links that have nothing to do with what brings them to your blog, you’re going to look like a spammer. Not only will you end up not making any money, but it might cost you the community of readers you’ve worked so hard to build.
Of course, figuring out what to promote is easier for some bloggers than it is for others. For example, if you blog about fashion, then you should probably promote clothing that your readers would wear. However, if you blog about politics, it might not be so easy to figure out what kind of products to promote.
So if you’re one of those confused bloggers, how do you figure out what kinds of products to promote? Well, since you share an interest with your readers, you can just ask yourself what kinds of products you like, but that won’t necessarily give a shortlist of products that are contextually relevant. What you have to do, then, is some good ol’ fashion media buying research.
Researching Your Readers
When online advertisers are trying to figure out where they advertise, one of the things they do is try to figure out where their competitors are advertising. For bloggers, similar research is much more straight forward.
As a blogger, you’re already aware of what other authority sites are relevant in your niche. Consequently, you simply have to check out those sites, and see what kinds of products are being advertised there.
Once you have an idea of what products are being advertised on similar sites and blogs, you can look into (1) whether those products are being promoted through an affiliate program, and/or (2) whether any of their substitute or complementary products are being promoted through an affiliate program.
For example, if you notice that many mainstream sites in your niche feature ads for mp3 players, and you can’t find any affiliate programs for mp3 players, then you might want to look into affiliate programs for music downloads.
Before throwing affiliate ads up on your blog, put yourself in your readers’ shoes and ask whether or not you would want to see (or even possibly be put off by seeing) such product promotions next to the content. After all, even though the media buyers have done a great deal of research before placing their ads on mainstream sites in your niche, they don’t necessarily have the same goals (referring sales) or common sense (respecting communities) that you do.
For instance, their goal might be to raise their brand profile simply by plastering their logo everywhere they can. Furthermore, the advertisers you’ve seen on similar sites might not care about the site’s readers.
So when you’re doing research on the kinds of products being advertised on sites with similar content, remember to take your findings with a grain of salt. Researching products to promote as an affiliate marketer is about finding something that your community of readers will find value in.
Mainstream advertisers don’t have the same mandate as affiliate marketers. They’re often content to just throw their message all over the web. As a blogger, you have to maintain the rapport of trust that you’ve built with your readers, and respect them as valued members of a community that is larger than you.